Transporting in France
New regulations affecting horseboxes over 3.5 tonnes came into force in France on 1 January 2014.
Any vehicle driven on French roads must be registered for the country's Eco-Tax, which is paid according to the distance travelled. Registration requires ten different documents and takes an average of six weeks. One document, the Certificate of Conformity, does not exist in the UK and conformation must be obtained from the vehicle's manufacturer.
Successful registrants are then supplied with an On Board Unit (OBU) to be used exclusively for the vehicle in question.
Eco-Tax costs are dependent on vehicle weight and the number of its axles. In November 2013, costs were set between 8.8-15.4 cents per kilometre (7.5-13.2p).
For further information, visit the Eco-Tax website (English language; opens in new window).
DOCOMs and Health Papers
A revision of the Tripartite Agreement (TPA) for the movement of horses between the countries of the UK, Ireland and France came into force on 1 June 2014.
Formerly, any horse could travel freely to and from France from the UK with a valid horse passport (and no requirement for health papers). However, in order to reduce the quantity of unmonitored horse movements and the potential for disease spread, this has now been revoked and certification of horse health will be required. This means that the UK is better protected from the import of horses of unknown origin and disease status.
The new TPA contains provision for horses entered in FEI competition in France (plus Thoroughbreds and certain others) to apply for a certificate called a DOCOM from an approved shipper to simplify the costs and administration for these horses. Movements for any other purpose or movements to any country other than France need to obtain health papers in the usual way.
A DOCOM lasts for 10 days; for longer trips the relevant shipper in France will issue a return DOCOM. The DOCOM means that these 'high health status' horses are still exempt from obtaining and paying for health papers signed by a veterinarian. They are granted 'high health status' because of their compliance with vaccination requirements and FEI veterinary regulations.
The British Equestrian Federation (BEF) has been authorised by Defra as an Approved TPA Body. This means that the BEF in turn needs to approve the shippers to produce DOCOMs and that these shippers comply with the BEF’s Terms. Any company wishing to apply to become an approved shipper should contact the BEF office.
Make sure you don’t get caught out. In order not to run the risk of being turned back at the port, please make sure that you have a DOCOM or health papers for all horses moving to France.
All horses other than FEI horses require a health certificate and an export licence, just as they would for transit to any European country other than France.
For all queries, please call the British Equestrian Federation on 02476 698871 or email email@example.com.